This issue recognizes leadership at all levels Please don't panic -- Ben Johnson's column, perhaps the best read page in National Real Estate Investor, will return in January, with one major change -- more on that later.

One of NREI's many strengths is the comprehensive coverage we offer of six different property types, including seniors housing. To do this, we travel extensively -- I have attended more than 12 industry conferences and trade shows this fall. My perspective on the industry from this is that regardless of your role in commercial real estate, this is a very special time to be a part of our industry.

Beyond the interest rates, spreads and supply and demand numbers, commercial real estate is thriving once again because of the creativity and passion of the people who work in our industry. Every strong industry is driven by leaders -- companies who are reaching new levels of achievement and success. This special issue of NREI presents our First Annual Leadership Awards recognizing the companies that are truly special and have dominated their fields in 1997. I think you will agree that all of the Award winners have had a tremendous impact on our business. Congratulations to every one of them.

There is one person I would like to recognize for their leadership and passion for the industry -- Ben Johnson. Ben joined our magazine on April Fool's Day 1995. In less than three years he has dramatically impacted the editorial coverage of the industry in all areas, created new and exciting ways to present informaton in the pages of NREI and most importantly brought his passion and energetic personality to the magazine.

Ben has been a leader for NREI on more than just the editorial side of our publishing business. He has shaped the direction and scope of the entire magazine. I am very pleased to announce that effective with this issue, I have promoted Ben Johnson to Publisher of NREI.

Back to Ben's column which will return in January under a new name -- Publisher's Notes. Most publishers of trade magazines are promoted from the advertising sales side of the operation. This is because 80% or more of a trade magazine's revenue overall comes from advertising sales. NREI has always prided itself as being focused on the editorial content as well as the advertising potential of the magzine. As Publisher, Ben will bring his expertise on the editorial side as well as his extensive background in commercial real estate marketing and promotion to his new position. We will all benefit from this.

Ben's biggest challenge will be looking to replace hmself as Editor of NREI. Ben's typical workday starts at 5:30 a.m. -- yes, he is even happy and hyper at that hour of the day. At one conference this fall on the West Coast, Ben was working at 5:30 a.m. East Coast time, moderated two panel discussions and a roundtable discussion and attended the evening networking function. Now that is one hard-working individual. Good luck in your search.

Ben has been a tremendous joy to work with and a constant inspiration to me. I can't wait to see the impact Ben will have on NREI as Publisher. I have never had the opportunity to promote someone who was more deserving of an expanded role.

For my part, I will be focusing on growing the other publications in the Intertec Real Estate Group and launching some exciting new products. I can't wait until 1998!